I’ve returned partially injured….

…from a stressful, unhealthy weekend MC’ing GonerFest 4. I did a terrible job, dropped the ball, and let the nature of that particular audience overwhelm me into passing on 70% of the material/jokes that were planned. The experience drove home the fact that I’m a behind-the-scenes type, a writer, an idea man, and less of a performer. Too bad the organizers of the event had to be the recipients of this revelation. Of course, everyone I mention this too responds with, “no, you did a great job, I didn’t notice anything.” They’re just being nice. Also, the past two weeks have been insanely trying on a personal level, due to several variables, and I was in no shape whatsoever to “perform” in front of 300 – 500 people.

On a lighter note, some items….

1. Through random, out-of-sequence viewings, Band of Brothers is climbing the ladder to sit underneath The Wire in my TV Hall of Greatness. I’m still in a Vietnam phase, as far as war history/cultural history/fiction/non-fiction goes, but one thing Band of Brothers drove home was the fact that there are no real men anymore. Where did the balls go? The guts? The military is no longer the proud, dignifying avenue of yore. My father and uncles had a duty to be proud of, not to downplay what our troops are dealing with now, on a individual level, but they have no goal to relish, no reason to be over there, and the military has slowly devolved into a last resort for semi-literate rednecks that will return home to no support, no gratification, no medical plan, no thanks, painkiller addiction, spouse beatings, and if they can, will return to their previously conceived plan of littering with world with dullard offspring (about 5 – 6 little unfortunate toeheads per household). Thanks for allowing me a moment to get all Jello Biafra/Feral House/Bill Maher on your asses. You will rarely read me doing this. On that note…..

2. A recent Real Time with Bill Maher featured Riot Grrrrrrrrrrrrranny Janeane Garofalo solidifying her place as a simple “personality” with typical lefty views as opposed to a comedian. Politics have made this woman lose her mind, adopt the same focus as a million other famous mouth-holes, and removed her from the club of people with anything interesting, fresh, or funny to say (not that she was really in that club to begin with). Oh, and nice tats. How many of those were done within the past 3 years? Good choice.

3. Late Night Talk Shows – I’ve always been fascinated in this pop-cultural semi-ghetto, not a particularly original fixation, of course, but these two clips, forwarded to me by Bob Mehr and chronologically disparate, made me think, “Hmmmm, has anyone written a truly definitive history of late night talk shows? A 1,000 page monster?” The idea then entered my world in a concrete way, when I created a still-blank file in my ‘Book Ideas’ folder, the same folder of which 80% is comprised of projects that I will never start on, much less finish.

Yes, Letterman still has it. He just doesn’t want to these days. I had heard about this, but it takes a viewing for maximum impact. “What is it that you did? Do you know what you did?” Not to state the obvious or state anything re: such a slow-moving target, but this idiot deserves every second. People that know better, coupled with the media, are far too interested in what this brainless tramp and her untalented ilk are up to. It’s a negative concern, strengthened by a disturbingly thickening audience for reality TV, and based around the simple fact that we enjoy watching famous people fuck up in public. And the famous people that fuck up in public circa-2007 are a different from before. Meaning, they are not interesting. I read some crap, yes. I read idiotic crime novels and predictably get sucked into ANYTHING related to true crime. Also, I harbor a possibly alarming taste for the paranormal. That said, I don’t feel a need to further melt my brain with unclever nonsense like perezhilton.com. It’s a sad day when THAT is what some people consider cultural criticism. Sure, it’s dumb and harmless, but I just can’t add some flaming moron’s prosaic pranks and commentary to my repertory of dumb and harmless.

Not only is this one from another time period, it’s from another planet.

3. Am I going to get into noise, free-improv, or true outsider insanity….again??

The answer is no, and truth be told, I was never that into it before. I tried, found some artists with outputs that occasionally warmed my heart and successfully comunicated a desolate form of emotion (Dead C., Gate, Supreme Dicks, a handful of Japanese artists), then abandoned the form due to the saturation of needless bullshit. Noise, free-improv and the like, more so than any other genre, is THE musical breeding ground for bullshit artists. It’s there that you will find four man bands that create albums that one guy with a table of effects could easily knock off in an afternoon (Black Dice, for instance). Creepy slobs have been making Wolf Eyes records, in editions of 500 with homemade covers, for the last 20 years, it’s just that today’s “tastemakers” lack the musical frame of reference to know this. Trust me, it’s not that I “don’t understand” this genre. Oh, I understand it, and suggesting that someone might not “get it” is awarding the direction with far too much credit. Where does free-jazz fit in? Not sure, other than the fact that I will never spend any future time with it. Make that the case for any jazz as well. Jazz is for humorless assholes.

With that out of the way, I am blown away by the opening track (”Your Far Church”) on the new Mouthus album (out soon on Load). Spooky beauty. I was also blown away by Mouthus live. Here is a band that is extracting every option from their confining genre of choice. I wanted to like the new Sightings album, but it does nothing for me. I felt nothing. If someone claims that Andrew W.K. sitting in as producer actually did something new for their discography, they are feeding you a line. “Yeah, sounds like Andrew’s signature style!!” What you are looking at is a bid for street cred on the part of W.K., and an attempt to sell 30 more albums than usual on the part of the band. Broken down, it means nothing. I’ll “reviewing” (if you include snarkified, 100-word blurbs in the writerly realm of what constitutes a review) both of these albums for the November issue of Vice, and neither will resemble what you just read. Hey, just trying to rock a little integrity over here.

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